This paper provides a brief introduction to the domain of ‘learning analytics’. We first explain the background and idea behind the concept. Then we give a brief overview of current research issues. We briefly list some more controversial issues before concluding.
The developing field of academic analytics seeks to turn data from educational systems into actionable intelligence for the improvement of teaching and learning. This paper reports on the implementation of analytics in a new medical school with an integrated curriculum and clinical focus. Analytics addressed two challenges in the curriculum: providing evidence of appropriate curriculum coverage and assessing student engagement and equity while on clinical placement. This paper describes the tools and approaches used, and outlines the lessons learnt. These lessons include the risk of a simplistic use of visualisations, their potential to generate important questions, the value of a flexible approach to tool selection, the need for relevant skills, and the importance of keeping the audience central. Although there is much further potential for the school to realise, academic analytics have already been a critical enabler of educational excellence.
This paper examines how student effort, consistency, motivation, and marginal learning, influence student grades in an online course. We use data from eleven Microeconomics courses taught online for a total of 212 students. Our findings show that consistency, or less time variation, is a statistically significant explanatory variable, whereas effort, or total minutes spent online, is not. Other independent variables include GPA and the difference between a pre-test and a post-test. The GPA is used as a measure of motivation, and the difference between a posttest and pre-test as marginal learning. As expected, the level of motivation is found statistically significant at a 99% confidence level, and marginal learning is also significant at a 95% level
The aim of the present study was to gain a better understanding of the content characteristics that make online consumer reviews a useful source of consumer information. To this end, we content analyzed reviews of experience and search products posted on Amazon.com (N = 400). The insights derived from this content analysis were linked with the proportion of ‘useful’ votes that reviews received from fellow consumers. The results show that content characteristics are paramount to understanding the perceived usefulness of reviews. Specifically, argumentation (density and diversity) served as a significant predictor of perceived usefulness, as did review valence although this latter effect was contingent on the type of product (search or experience) being evaluated in reviews. The presence of expertise claims appeared to be weakly related to the perceived usefulness of reviews. The broader theoretical, methodological and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
During 2009-10 the University of Ballarat implemented the open-source learning management system (LMS) Moodle alongside its existing legacy LMS, Blackboard. While previous IT implementations have been troublesome at the university, notably the student information and finance management systems in 2008-09, the Moodle implementation appears to have been a success. This article reviews the key factors in the implementation and points to several features which have made it a success. The success factors may be suitable for consideration by other organisations which are implementing change, particularly as several appear to run counter to the traditional conceptions of change and project management. This case study points to the importance of trust and empowerment of high quality LMS staff, who are focussed on the end-user rather than the technical side, to implement the project in an ‘organic’, emergent process. Given that the managerialist project management model, which appears to put more faith in systematic procedures than the staff who have to implement them, is more typical of many LMS and IT implementations, this case study revealed a surprising and refreshing level of approval for valuing staff expertise over ‘tick box’ adherence to technical checklists.